Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Workstudy Software

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We had a similar post/discussion before about software for Value Stream Mapping. Now, I'd like to ask/survey the blog audience about software for work measurement or time studies.

The category of software I'm talking about includes these:

UMT Plus, from Labrauss

WorkStudy+ 3.0 from Quetech

Are any of you using tools like this for analyze work and motion, looking for value-added/NVA activity data?

I recently spent a few days piloting one of these tools, a Palm-based application that syncs up to a PC. I won't say which, because I'm not giving a review or an endorsement. Long story short was that the software worked fine and was customizable for the hospital environment I was in. The tools, in general, are probably more suited to a more predictable, routine activity environment, where tasks and sequence are known, more so than a hospital environment with unpredictable and highly variable work.

The software helps automate the process of collecting data for work observation (which can be done by a consultant, in the traditional “industrial engineer with a stopwatch” manner, or by the employees themselves).

Another mode these tools tend to work in is “work sampling mode.” The idea here is that an employee, such as a nurse, will carry the Palm device around and the device beeps/vibrates randomly at certain times. The nurse is supposed to use the device to indicate what category of work she is doing at the moment.

I don't know if I would want to use such a tool in a mode like that. It seems like the interruption to work could be annoying or worse, that it could be seen as a real imposition.

Does anyone have more experience with tools like these? Are they helpful?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus. His next book, to be released in 2018, is Measures of Success.

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